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Other materials stories that may be of interest

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[Image above] Credit: NIST

UW–Madison engineers reveal record-setting flexible phototransistor

Inspired by mammals’ eyes, University of Wisconsin-Madison electrical engineers have created the fastest, most responsive flexible silicon phototransistor ever made. The high-performance phototransistor far and away exceeds all previous flexible phototransistor parameters, including sensitivity and response time. The innovative phototransistor could improve the performance of myriad products that rely on electronic light sensors.

New welding technique can weld “un-weldable” metals

Engineers at The Ohio State University have developed a new welding technique that consumes 80 percent less energy than a common welding technique, yet creates bonds that are 50 percent stronger. The new technique could have a huge impact on the auto industry, which is poised to offer new cars which combine traditional heavy steel parts with lighter, alternative metals to reduce vehicle weight.

Chemical complexity promises improved structural alloys for next-gen nuclear energy

Designing alloys to withstand extreme environments is a fundamental challenge for materials scientists. Energy from radiation can create imperfections in alloys, so researchers in an Energy Frontier Research Center led by Oak Ridge National Lab are investigating ways to design structural materials that develop fewer, smaller flaws under irradiation. The key is exploiting the complexity that is present when alloys are made with equal amounts of up to four different metallic elements.

Making green fuels, no fossils required

Using solar or wind power to produce carbon-based fuels might seem like a self-defeating approach to making a greener world. But when the starting material is carbon dioxide, the approach is as green as it gets. The technology that makes it economically feasible isn’t available yet, but a recently published paper presents nice step forward in the effort to not just sequester CO2, but turn it into a useful fuel that is part of a carbon-neutral future.

Researchers create transplantation model for 3-D printed constructs

Using sugar, silicone, and a 3-D printer, a team of bioengineers at Rice University and surgeons at the University of Pennsylvania have created an implant with an intricate network of blood vessels that points toward a future of growing replacement tissues and organs for transplantation. The study showed that blood flowed normally through test constructs that were surgically connected to native blood vessels.